Scandinavian countries consistently come out tops on the happiness index but Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (“Love is All You Need”) continues in her apparent quest to dig up the darkest muck in the river bed of the human soul. If you’re familiar with Bier’s world, you’ll know how her characters always wrestle with self-doubt and morality issues, are mired in familial problems and are deeply, profoundly unhappy. “En Chance Til” (“A Second Chance”) is possibly her most disturbing work to date and, coming from the director who specializes in gut-wrenching drama that also functions as modern social commentary, that speaks volumes. In other words, “A Second Chance” — despite its optimistic tone — is not for the faint of heart, and will likely deplete your resources of positivity and inner strength. Just alerting you to the dangers ahead.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (“Oblivion,” “1,000 Times Good Night”) stars as Andreas, a Copenhagen cop who lives in a nice suburban house with his wife, Anna (Maria Bonnevie), and infant son. All is not really well at home, though: Anna is in the throes of severe post-partum depression, and there are hints early on that Andreas’ home is above his pay grade and the financial burden is weighing on him. Add to that the stress of having to care for his wife and a new baby and, to make matters worse, his partner, Simon (Ulrich Thomsen), pours out his family and marriage woes to an already tired Andreas.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.